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Alleged Crime Proceeds: Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Diezani Madueke’s Lekki Land

Shola Soyele  
Updated March 25, 2022
A file photo of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of a vacant plot of land situated at Plot 13, Block 11, Oniru Chieftaincy Family Private Estate, Lekki, Lagos, linked to former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Justice Akintayo Aluko made the final forfeiture order of the land to the Federal Government sequel to an application moved by a legal officer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Abbas Mohammed.

In making a final forfeiture of the property Justice Aluko held that:

“Upon this motion on notice dated February 17, 2022, coming’ before this Honourable Court the 25th day of March 2022, praying the Court for the following reliefs; a final Order forfeiting the properties /assets listed and – described in the schedule herein to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“And for such further orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.

“Upon reading affidavit in support of the motion paper sworn to by Babana Job, of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of 15A, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State.

“And the court having heard A.O. Mohammed Esq, for the Plaintiff/ Applicant moved the application praying the court to grant the reliefs sought as endorsed on the motion paper.

“It is hereby ordered as follow, “That a final order is hereby granted forfeiting the property/asset listed and described in the schedule herein to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

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The EFCC had listed the former petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison Madueke, a Nigeria lawyer, Donald Chidi Amamgbo and MEZ Group LLC, as respondents in the suit.

In May 2017, Justice Babs Kuewuni, also of the Federal High Court had granted an interim forfeiture of the land.

The interim forfeiture was granted after the court read the affidavit in support of the motion paper sworn to by AbdulRasheed Bawa, now the chairman of the Commission, which was argued and moved by the EFCC’s head of legal section, Mr. Anselem Ozioko.

As part of Justice Kuewunmi’s orders, he directed the EFCC to notify the persons in whose possession the properties sought to be forfeited are found to appear before his court and show cause within 14 days why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The court also directed the EFCC to publish the interim order in any newspaper for persons in whose possession the properties sought to be forfeited are found or anyone who is interested in the properties sought to be forfeited to appear before this court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture of the property should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

In asking the court for final forfeiture of the said land, the EFCC through one of its investigators, Babana Job, in an affidavit in support of the motion stated that sometime in 2016, a search warrant was executed at the office and premises of Mr. Donald Chidi Amamgbo (the second defendant in the suit) and a known acquaintance of the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison Madueke (first defendant).

The investigator stated that among the documents recovered from the office of the second defendant was an undated report titled: Highly Confidential Attorney Work Product August Report.

The said report contained a list of 18 companies and several properties located in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Nigeria.

The Commission said it then extended an invitation to the second defendant having been unable to locate the first Defendant in respect of the discoveries during the search.

The second defendant honoured the invitation extended to him and upon his report, he was confronted with the Highly Confidential Attorney Work Product August Report and in the course of interviews, he told the agency that he registered the 18 companies, including the third defendant to assist Mrs Diezani Alison Madueke (first defendant) in holding titles of her properties and that all the properties belong to her.

The investigator also stated that as part of investigative procedures, the Commission wrote and dispatched letters of investigation activities to Oniru Chieftaincy Family Property Company, individuals, organization and some financial institutions.

The replies received were analyzed and based on the findings of the investigation, the EFCC commenced an action to forfeit the vacant plot at plot 13 Block Il, Oniru Chieftaincy Family Private Estate, Lekki, Lagos State.

And that the Court in a considered ruling granted an interim order of forfeiture against the plot 13 Block Il, Oniru Chieftaincy Family Private Estate, Lekki, Lagos State to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

He also deposed in the affidavit that in compliance with the court order, the interim order of the court was published in the newspapers and no person or party had shown or signified interest to ‘show cause’ against the interim order of the court, which necessitated the present application for the final forfeiture order.

He, therefore, urged the court in the utmost public interest and concern and in the interest of justice to grant the application.